To tell or not to tell (people that you are ill)

What do you think should we tell people that we are ill (sz, bipolar,…) or not. I didnt work for some time when i got ill so people at work were constantly asking me why wasnt i working. I just made some story up and didnt tell the truth.
I plan on getting off meds in the near future to see if i can be without (pdoc agreed) and if i succeed id like to forget about all this. If i end up psychotic again people will just ask questins again. So what do i say?

Part of me thinks i can only get support and understanding from people if i explain but other part of me doubts that. Maybe im just too optimistic and naive and people are not so nice like i hope or imagine?

Ive always been wary of telling people I have sz, if pushed ive said bipolar as for some reason its seems more accepted, i know its a cowards way out, i had made friends and im scared of the stigma of telling them my real diagnosis. I will one day maybe when im more stable, its certainly not an easy situation.

I hope you have some good friends who you can open up to and get support, forever hopefull :slight_smile:

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Leading researcher said to model the coming out after gays and lesbians and bisexuals coming out of the closet

I personally tell certain family members about my DX.
I told my new family doctor because he is treating me and needs to know about the psych meds I am taking.

If I had a romantic partner and things were getting serious, I would tell her eventually, otherwise I choose not to tell others about my DX - frankly it would not benefit me in anyway and could lead to unwanted stigma.


I tell people I suffer from depressions. It’s a good excuse to co workers to stay home for two months or so. Depression is accepted. I don’t believe sz or bipolar is as accepted in society.

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Three words: Need. To. Know.


I have told all my friends and (close) family. In some cases, just because I felt like sharing what happened to me. In these cases, to me it is just a part of friendship that you share intimate, difficult experiences. Friends tell me stuff they are troubled by, I do the same. To me it is not even primarily about getting support in such cases, although I will get it and appreciate it. But it just seems to me it is what friendship consists of, sharing your difficult moments, embarrassing moments etc. I take comfort in my friends knowing who I am, as I do in knowing who they are.

That being said I do not have experience with this illness in a full-time work-environment, I’m still studying at university. Now I have disclosed my illness there as well, to some fellow students that I consider friends, as well as to some supervisors of mine. These latter may come closest to co-workers in terms of what kind of relationship and what level of trust there is between you. There are some differences as well. These teachers I have disclosed to are very educated in general, and also on the topic of schizophrenia and mental illness in general. They know about the symptoms, and they also knew my academic performance for a few years already before I disclosed. They were very understanding and I am glad to have told them. In general, so far I have not regretted telling anyone about my illness, and have not experienced stigma - though it is always possible people speak differently behind my back of course, worrying about this to me resembles paranoia too much to be attractive to me.

In general I have disclosed many times when the conversation naturally lead to a question to which the honest answer would involve disclosing my illness. But as said, this for me has been always in the context of relations of quite a high level of trust.

When the relationship is more superficial, and conversation presses for an explanation like you describe, I think some vagueness is allowed. You could say something like ‘I needed a break from it all’ and the co-workers you are least familiar with, I think, are also least likely to press the issue any further. In your situation, I would disclose only to co-workers I have established a personal relationship with. Like coming over for dinner, and disclosing other, less severe, personal matters. It is my experience that in the process of getting to know someone better and better, people will almost naturally disclose more and more personal matters. It is a sort of give and take. I can give the example of a fellow student that was becoming a friend and disclosed to me some issues he had with his girlfriend. I took that as my cue that it would be okay to disclose my mental illness to him. After that, he turned out to become one of my best friends.

If you want to be left alone, telling people you’re sz is a good way to do that.


If I had to I would tell people I had a severe mental illness. I would try and avoid specifying the diagnosis though. This is because the diagnosis I have is described in such a negative light and doesn’t accurately describe many people who experience paranoia.

Went for interview for vol work at a place helping people with alcohol and drug problems. They asked what my mental health issue was and I was honest and told them I had sciz. They seemed like intelligent people and being honest meant they could understand my issues and why I’m looking for volunteer work. I told them it was controlled with meds but that I still get breakthrough symptoms

My close friends know who I see several times a week, but not 100%. I’ve told some I have a chemical imbalance in my brain, which is a good way of saying it and I’ve told some people I had depression. I’ve never told about my condition to people I work with, or at jobs. If you’re on meds and can lead a normal life, there’s no need to mention it.

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One is always faced with moments where it is rather attracting to disclose the condition, but it is the wrong choice I think, imagine your self receiving this information from an acuiantence who you barely care about, which is the case with 99.9% of people out there, you wouldn’t want to get in touch with him again because every one is searching for safety in his environment including us. Thus, keep it confidential unless you this it is really necessary to disclose it, to a family member, a new relation partner or your family doctor.